The year was 1974, the month April, the day, the thirteenth. I married my best friend who also happened to be my pastor. We had spent the last couple of years ( a little longer for him) in a Christian Communal Ministry that studied and worked together and then were sent out to various cities to start, what we called, outreach centers. These basically were houses we rented to take in people off the streets for a meal, a bed, prayer and good old-fashioned gospel preaching. There was a movement across America during that time. A movement of God that came in all shapes and sizes and some false gods. There was a movement of youth that were searching. There was a war still in progress and our boys and men were caught up fighting a battle that few understood. It was no longer our parents life. It was new, it was different.
I tried one year at the local community college in my hometown. Freedom rang everywhere – hippie professors, drugs all around, new music – or was it freedom? I knew that I did not want to go to college. Through various travels I ended up in Oregon and met my husband to be. It was good times back then. We were all young and searching for a purpose.
We ended up in San Diego and opened an outreach center. Fun times. We met people from all walks of life: the lady who wore her purse on her head to protect her from alien’s powers, the Children of God couple that wanted to entice young girls to be apart of their cult, the upper class men and woman who were searching for their purpose in life. Very good times and very eye-opening to a gal who never traveled and had a very sheltered childhood.
We were in love, this man and I, and off we went into the world together. The Jesus People/Hippie Movement dwindled and we were forced to become regular people in a regular world. We ended up in a small mountain town in southern California with three kids and a dog and pastoring our first church. I learned very fast that I was not what the people would call a typical pastor’s wife. You see, the church members in most organized churches have a certain idea of what a pastor and his wife should be like. My husband was better at it that I was. After about seven years we said goodbye to California and moved the now four kids and a dog and parakeet to the east coast where I came from. We learned a lot about our faith and about our mission in life. We knew what we didn’t want to be or to do and set about being who God made us to be.
I continued to be a “pastor’s wife” and I continued to fail the people’s expectations. Did I feel as if I failed God? No. I was true to myself as often as I could be. You see, He made me. I cannot be someone I am not. And as a Christian, I cannot be someone who others want me to be. I have to be me. The scriptures people pull out of the bible and use to dictate what church leaders are to do and be are not always used in the proper context. The original languages that this wonderful book was written in are much deeper than our simple English. I got tired. I felt like an actress trying to play a part I wasn’t meant to play.
It was during this time on the east coast that I really came alive and things became clearer to both my husband and I about ourselves and about what we were to do and be to others. We love working with people and helping people. I got an unexpected job at a police department (will blog about that real soon) and that taught me even more about who I am and what I am passionate about. People in our church still didn’t get me. I had other pastor’s wives tell me of the “duties” I was to be doing. I ignored them. I had church members tell me that I wasn’t like their last pastor’s wife – I ignored them also. I began to live and enjoy life even more. I believe I finally became more of whom God intended. He liked that. He liked me.
So, I wrote this to tell you a little more about me. I also write this to tell you to find out who you are and what your passions are in life and DO NOT let others dictate who you are or what you should be doing. Understand, we all need guidance. We all need instruction. We all need others to help us in this journey called Life – but be true to yourself. Surround yourself with other people who see you for who you are. This is a BIG key to success.
Let life’s bumps and bruises and forks-in-the-road become your instructors also. Be humble about the things you go through and the hurts that are dumped on you. They hurt, but they are a big part in making you to become who you are meant to be. And biggest of all try your hardest to love. Love those who are used to hurt. Spending time being hurt and broken and bitter is a major waste of energy. Put your energy in letting go and forgiving as best you can and YOU will come out on top. Let those others go.
You Can Do It! Find you and be you!